Rory McIlroy and LeBron James produced memorable moments on June 19, a date that means much to England cricket fans but one their Australian counterparts will always want to forget.

McIlroy was magnificent as he won the 2011 U.S. Open, five years before James and the Cleveland Cavaliers completed a memorable triumph over the Golden State Warriors.

As for the Ashes rivals, England's batsmen were undoubtedly on top in 2018 as they put Australia's poor bowlers to the sword in Nottingham.

Take a look back at some of the memorable moments that have happened on this day through the years.

 

2011: Major breakthrough for McIlroy

Just over two months after enduring a last-round meltdown that ended his hopes of Masters glory at Augusta, McIlroy secured his first major - and in some style, too.

The Congressional course was no match for the Northern Irishman, who left the field fighting it out for second place - Jason Day would eventually finish a distant runner-up - and had the statisticians trawling through the records.

McIlroy's eight-shot triumph was the biggest margin of victory in the tournament's history, while his final score of 16 under was a record for strokes under par (a feat matched by Brooks Koepka in 2017). 

2016: Cavs stun Warriors to reign at last

Having returned for a second spell with Cleveland, the team that drafted him back in 2003, James finally steered the Cavs to glory in the NBA Finals.

The Golden State Warriors appeared on course to retain their title when they led the best-of-seven series 3-1. LeBron, however, had other ideas, inspiring his team to rally from the brink of defeat to claim the city's first professional sports title in 52 years.

His triple-double was influential in deciding the outcome of Game 7, though his most notable play was 'The Block' on Andre Iguodala late in proceedings. Yet it was Kyrie Irving who made the key shot with just under a minute remaining, sinking a three-pointer that helped clinch a 93-89 triumph.

2018: Australia suffer as England run up the score

Going, going gone. England's one-day team made history in the third match of the series against Australia, smashing their way to a world record total in the 50-over format.

Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales both made centuries as the hosts amassed 481-6 at Trent Bridge. Captain Eoin Morgan weighed in with a rapid 67, helping England ease past their previous highest score of 444-3, made against Pakistan just under two years earlier at the same venue.

Australia could only muster 237 all out in reply to suffer their heaviest ever loss in ODI cricket in terms of runs (242 runs, to be precise). They would end up being swept in the series too, going down 5-0.

The Golden State Warriors and Tiger Woods both became champions again on June 16 in previous years, while Didier Deschamps' France also started their road to glory in Russia.

Steve Kerr's Warriors have dominated the NBA for much of the past half-decade, but five years ago they were trying to end a long championship drought.

Woods was already a multiple major winner by 2008, though his victory at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines while he essentially played on one leg was one of his most incredible successes.

Here we take a look at major sporting events that have happened on June 16 in previous years.

 

2008 - Wounded Woods wins U.S. Open play-off

The 2008 U.S. Open had been due to finish on Sunday, June 15 but 72 holes could not separate Woods and veteran Rocco Mediate, so the two came back for 18 more on Monday.

Woods had a three-stroke lead through 10 holes but, clearly hampered by a serious knee injury, he was reeled in by the world number 158 and needed a birdie at the last to force a sudden death.

After 91 holes, Woods eventually emerged victorious to claim his 14th major title - four short of record-holder Jack Nicklaus' haul - though it would be another 11 years before he tasted major success again at the Masters.

It was later revealed Woods had played on with a double stress fracture and a torn anterior cruciate ligament, making his victory all the more remarkable.

2015 - Warriors end title drought

Finals between the Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers would become a regular theme, and it was Stephen Curry and Co. who came out on top in 2015, as they did in 2017 and 2018 too.

The 2015 series had been tied at 2-2 but a 104-91 Game 5 win gave Golden State the chance to end a 40-year wait for another title on June 16, which they did with a 105-97 Game 6 victory.

Curry and Finals MVP Andre Iguodala scored 25 points apiece, with the latter winning praise for his defensive display against LeBron James, who would need to wait another 12 months before he brought a title to the long-suffering Cleveland fans.

2018 - VAR helps France edge past Australia

They may have undoubtedly been the best team at Russia 2018, but France had an underwhelming start to a campaign that would end with them winning the World Cup.

Les Bleus were thankful for VAR when it was used - for the first time ever in a World Cup match - to award them a controversial penalty after Josh Risdon's tackle on Antoine Griezmann originally went punished in Kazan.

Griezmann duly dispatched the penalty but Australia pulled level through Mile Jedinak's spot-kick, only for France to claim a 2-1 win 10 minutes from time courtesy of an own goal from Aziz Behich.

June 12 was a day when Michael Jordan finally became an NBA champion, while the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors also enjoyed Finals celebrations.

Jordan became widely regarded as the greatest player of all time but had to endure a couple of heartbreaks before finally tasting glory with the Chicago Bulls in 1991.

Shaquille O'Neal made history with the Lakers on this day 18 years ago, while you only have to go back to 2017 for Kevin Durant's moment to shine.

The St. Louis Blues also had reason to celebrate 12 months ago as their long wait for Stanley Cup glory came to an end.


1991 - MJ and the Bulls earn first of six

Having been beaten twice in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Detroit Pistons, the Chicago Bulls finally bested their rivals in the 1990-91 playoffs.

That led to a Finals series with the LA Lakers and Jordan was not about to miss his opportunity.

The Bulls wrapped it up in five with Jordan the fulcrum of their success en route to being named Finals MVP.

He scored 30 points and Scottie Pippen put up 32 as the Bulls defeated the Lakers 108-101 to win their first NBA title on this day. They would go on win six in eight years in one of sport's greatest dynasties.


2002 – 'Get ready for the Shaq attack!' Lakers rout Nets

It was a night of history for Shaq and Phil Jackson as the Lakers completed a 4-0 series of sweep of the New Jersey Nets in the NBA Finals.

Finals MVP Shaq put up 34 points in the 113-107 victory in New Jersey as the Lakers became the fifth team to win at least three straight NBA Championships.

With 145 points in the series, Shaq became the highest scorer in a four-game Finals, beating the 131 of Hakeem Olajuwon, which he achieved in 1995 for the Houston Rockets against O'Neal's Orlando Magic.

For legendary coach Jackson, it represented a ninth NBA title as a coach - levelling Red Auerbach's benchmark.


2017: Durant the Golden boy as James' Cavs beats

Just a year earlier, LeBron James had inspired the Cleveland Cavaliers to the 2016 NBA championship from a 3-1 deficit to avenge their loss to the Golden State Warriors the season before.

But in the third year of their fourth straight battle in the NBA Finals, it was the Warriors who celebrated a 4-1 series triumph.

Kevin Durant, signed as a free agent at the start of the 2016-17 season, was named Finals MVP after averaging 35.2 points, including putting up 39 in Game 5.

James had 41 but was unable to prevent the Cavs slipping to a 129-120 loss.


2019: St Louis finally end Stanley Cup Blues

In a back-and-forth Stanley Cup Finals series, it all came down to Game Seven between the St. Louis Blues and the Boston Bruins.

But the Boston fans were left disappointed at TD Garden as St. Louis ran out 4-1 victors.

It marked the Blues' first Stanley Cup triumph in their 51st season as a franchise.

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr is in favour of minicamps for the teams who will not participate when the NBA season resumes after the COVID-19 crisis.

The NBA has been on hiatus since March due to the coronavirus pandemic but the league is set to restart at Walt Disney Resort near Orlando, Florida in July.

The NBA has confirmed plans for 22 teams to relaunch the 2019-20 campaign, with a tentative resumption date of July 31.

Golden State are among the eight franchises that will not feature at Disney World – the Warriors finishing their season with a league-worst 15-50 record in the Western Conference.

Kerr, whose Warriors were ravaged by injuries this season, hopes the NBA will allow the eight teams to conduct a minicamp ahead of the 2020-21 season.

"The league has been great about working with us on potential minicamps," Kerr told reporters on a conference call on Tuesday. "We definitely need to get our team together for a period of time.

"I don't know for how long, but we definitely need to be together and have some practice sessions. Given that 22 of the teams are going to be allowed to do so for minimum of a couple weeks' practice and a couple weeks' games, while the rest of us are not part of that, the league is sensitive to giving us the space that we're going to need. So we're still in touch with the league about what that means.

"I think what I would like as a coach is a couple weeks of practice at least, maybe two different blocks of a couple of weeks where we can bring guys in, health permitting and regulations permitting, of course, given the virus, but if we could have a couple different blocks where our players could come in, work with our training staff, we get them on the court, almost like an OTA [organised team activities] for an NFL team where we can install some things for next year, think about what we want to accomplish and get some practice sessions in. I think it would bridge the gap towards a more normal offseason and then lead us into next season in a healthier frame of mind."

"That's one reason why I think it's important to mix in a couple of minicamps so that we can knock off some of that rust or staleness whatever you want to call it," Kerr continued. "But who are we to complain? We complained enough about not having any time off over the last five years, so we can't now turn around and say we've got too much time off, so we're just going to take advantage of what we can and use the rest and use the time wisely.

"I know that our players, whenever we come in to prepare for next season, our players are going to be rarin' to go. I think in the end, it will be a positive step no matter how this plays out."

On the participation of Golden State's star Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, Kerr added: "Oh, yeah. 100 per cent. I would not consider this voluntary workouts.

"Obviously, these are really unique circumstances, but given that we would be staring at a nine-month break, to be perfectly honest I would be shocked if any one of those three guys said to me, 'No, I don't want the work.' They all know they need the work. And we all need the work, so they'll be there."

June 8 is likely to be a date forever remembered fondly by Rafael Nadal, who secured two of his historic 12 French Open titles on this day.

Serena Williams also twice had reason to celebrate on the clay of Roland Garros on this date, although one final was tinged with the regret of having beaten her sister.

The Golden State Warriors tasted glory once again in 2018, while there was truly a shock for the ages when Argentina faced Cameroon at the World Cup in 1990.

Going back nearly 60 years, there was also a moment of baseball history for the Milwaukee Braves.

 

1961 - Milwaukee Braves hit home-run record

There were six teams scrambling for top spot in the National League when the Braves met the Cincinnati Reds at Crosley Field.

In front of a sparse crowd of just over 5,000 fans - many seem to have been exhausted by three previous night games in the series - the Reds claimed a 10-8 victory.

The Braves did at least make history with four consecutive home runs through Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Joe Adcock and Frank Thomas in the seventh inning.

 

1990 - Argentina shocked by Cameroon

Perhaps the biggest World Cup upset in history, the reigning champions were beaten 1-0 by Cameroon at Italia 90.

A solitary goal from Francois Omam-Biyik was enough for the Indomitable Lions to defeat Diego Maradona's Argentina at San Siro.

Cameroon progressed as group winners and reached the quarter-finals, where they lost to England. Argentina made it to the final again but were beaten by West Germany.

 

2002 - Serena wins all-Williams final in Paris

The first of Serena's three French Open singles titles came 18 years ago when she defeated sister Venus 7-5 6-3.

It was the first step in the American's path to winning all four majors in a row, which would become known as the 'Serena Slam'; she claimed Wimbledon and the US Open later that year before winning the 2003 Australian Open, defeating her sister in each of those finals.

Twelve years later, Serena would achieve the feat a second time.

This date also marks seven years since Serena beat Maria Sharapova in the final at Roland Garros.

 

2008 - Nadal equals Borg record with Federer thrashing

Nadal became the first man since Bjorn Borg to win four French Open singles titles in a row when he defeated Roger Federer in the 2008 final.

The Spaniard, a 12-time champion at Roland Garros, triumphed 6-1 6-3 6-0 in a decidedly one-sided contest against his long-time rival.

Six years later, Nadal won French Open number nine on the same date, defeating Novak Djokovic 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4 to draw level with Pete Sampras on 14 major singles titles. He has won a further five since.

 

2018 - Warriors claim third title in four years

Inspired by NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant, the Warriors claimed their third NBA championship in four seasons on this day two years ago.

Golden State completed a 4-0 sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers with a 108-85 win at what was then known as Quicken Loans Arena.

It was the second time in his career that LeBron James suffered the ignominy of a Finals sweep, having also endured it against the San Antonio Spurs in 2007.

Golden State Warriors stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson marched in Oakland's unity protest on Wednesday.

George Floyd – an African-American man – died in Minneapolis after a police officer was filmed kneeling on his neck during an arrest last week.

Violent protests have broken out across the United States since Floyd's death, during which he was filmed crying out for help as he was handcuffed and pinned to the ground.

Three-time NBA champions Curry and Thompson were among Warriors players to march in the Walking in Unity protest event, along with team-mates Damion Lee and Kevon Looney.

Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson organised the rally and said: "No matter the colour of your skin, how much money you got, your education, it don't matter, we're all human beings.

"We're all here for the same purpose. Not just for black people. Right now it's about black people, but for humanity. There's people all over the world being oppressed.

"And we're just trying to take a step in the right direction and start something – me and my boys, my brothers. Thank you guys for being here."

On Thompson's Instagram story, the five-time All-Star shared footage of the event and wrote: "@juanonjuan10 natural born leader!"

Pierino Prati scored a hat-trick as AC Milan won the European Cup in 1969 and Francesco Totti played the final match of his career on this day three years ago.

May 28 will always be a special date in Milan's history, with Prati the hero in a 4-1 defeat of Johan Cruyff's Ajax at the Santiago Bernabeu.

A tearful Totti said his goodbyes after 25 years with Roma, fittingly bowing out with a Serie A victory over Genoa and it is 23 years since Borussia Dortmund won the Champions League.

There was also a day to remember for Klay Thompson in 2016, when he set an NBA playoff record for three-pointers in a match to keep the Golden State Warriors' season alive.

 

1969 - Prati punishes Ajax

Real Madrid greats Ferenc Puskas and Alfredo Di Stefano were the only players to score a European Cup final hat-trick until Prati's Madrid masterclass.

The clinical forward was on target with a header, a venomous strike from outside the penalty and an opportunistic finish as the great Cruyff was upstaged.

Angelo Sormani also found the back of the net for the Rossoneri as they lifted the famous trophy for a second time.

Prati, Puskas and Di Stefano remain the only three men to have scored hat-tricks in the biggest match in European football.

 

1997 - Riedle double puts Dortmund in dreamland

Dortmund delivered in their first Champions League final, beating the mighty Juventus 3-1 in Munich.

Germany striker Karl-Heinz Riedle put the Bundesliga side in charge with a quickfire first-half brace, turning in from close range before heading beyond Angelo Peruzzi.

Juve had a goal disallowed before Alessandro Del Piero pulled one back with a sublime backheel.

Dortmund-born substitute Lars Ricken magnificently restored the two-goal cushion with his first touch and there was no way back for Juve as Ottmar Hitzfeld's side celebrated their finest hour at the home of rivals Bayern Munich.

 

2016 - Three and easy on Klay's day

The Golden State Warriors needed their stars to step up when they faced the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.

They had pegged the Thunder's series lead back to 3-2 with a victory two days earlier and had to win again in Oklahoma City in order to force a decider.

It was Thompson who starred to silence the Thunder fans, on target with a playoff record 11 attempts from behind the line and finishing with a 41-point haul.

The defending champions went on to win the final match of the series but went down 4-3 to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals.

 

2017 – Eternal great Totti finishes on a high note

After a quarter of a century in the famous colours of Roma, the time finally came for Totti to bow out three years ago.

The one-club man was given a magnificent send-off from the fans who watched him captain his boyhood club for as many as 18 years.

Forward Totti, a World Cup winner with Italy in 2006, scored 307 goals in 786 games for the Eternal City giants.

Totti came off the bench to a standing ovation in his swansong versus Genoa and Diego Perotti's last-gasp strike snatched a 3-2 victory to secure second spot and a place in the group stage of the Champions League.

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale does not understand why he is so heavily criticised for playing golf and insists his love of the sport makes him a better footballer.

Bale has faced scrutiny in Spain for thinking too much about golf and not playing for Madrid, where he has been plagued by numerous injury issues in recent years.

The Wales international has been nicknamed 'the Golfer' by his Madrid team-mates and riled his own fans in November when posing with a flag that read "Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order".

However, Bale has defended his decision to regularly tee it up and pointed to the example set by Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry, who also shares a passion for golf and has previously played on the Korn Ferry Tour.

"A lot of people have problems with me playing golf, I don't know what the reason is," he told the Erik Anders Lang Show podcast. "I've spoken to doctors and everybody's fine with it.

"The media have this perception that it's not good for me: 'You should be resting, it can cause problems, injuries.' In America, I know Steph Curry plays maybe on the morning of a game. 

"Here, if I play two days before a game it's like, 'What's he doing?'

"I just like going out to play, thinking I've got 18 holes ahead of me. You can get away from the football, away from anything negative that's going on, and reset your mind.

"The next day you feel a bit more fresh and ready to go and concentrate and feel better about football again."

Bale is back in training with Madrid ahead of LaLiga's planned return on June 11, three months on from the season being brought to a halt by the coronavirus pandemic.

And despite an underwhelming return of two goals and two assists in 14 league appearances in 2019-20, the 30-year-old is content with his performances this term.

"The thing with football now is everything is based around results. That's the problem," he said. 

"You might play amazingly, not score for five games and everyone says, 'He's having a terrible time.'

"People just like goals, assists, 'wow' things. And sometimes that doesn't always happen. I've played terribly, then I've scored two goals, and everyone says, 'Great game.'

"People can have their own opinions, as long as I know I've tried my best and I've played as well as I can then I'm happy with that."

Giannis Antetokounmpo said a hacker was behind a string of racist and insulting posts on his Twitter account, leaving him "disappointed and disgusted".

A series of controversial tweets from the NBA MVP's official account targeted the Milwaukee Bucks and his team-mate Khris Middleton, as well as LeBron James and Stephen Curry.

Insensitive comments were also published about Kobe Bryant, who died alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash in California in January.

All of the incendiary posts have since been deleted.

In a statement published on Twitter, Antetokounmpo said: "Hey everybody! I'm back and would like to address the social media incident from earlier today! I was hacked and the situation is currently being investigated.

"The tweets and posts were extremely inappropriate and I am so disappointed and disgusted that somebody would say the terrible things that were said!

"I feel terrible that the Bucks, Khris, LeBron and the Curry family were included in the malicious and untrue tweets.

"I feel especially terrible for the Bryant family, during their time of grief they should not be subjected to this type of negativity and foul behaviour.

"Thank you all for always supporting my family and I, and please stay safe!"

A statement from the Bucks read: "Giannis Antetokounmpo's social media accounts were hacked this afternoon and have been taken down. An investigation is underway."

Antetokounmpo's brother Kostas, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, attempted to make followers aware the Bucks star was not behind the comments as they were published.

He later added: "Giannis' twitter, phone, email and bank accounts were hacked!

"He genuinely apologises for everything that was tweeted and he will be back as soon as possible!

"The things that were said by this hacker were extremely inappropriate and disgusting!"

The NBA is very different place to what it was when Stephen Curry came on the scene.

The Golden State Warriors star has been at the forefront in a dramatic shift to the way the game is played.

Gone are the days when physicality was the predominant attribute required to succeed. Now the three-point shot reigns supreme.

Five years on from Curry claiming the first of his two successive MVP awards, we use Stats Perform data to analyse the increasing importance of success from beyond the arc.

 

Deadly from distance

Curry entered the league as the seventh overall pick in the 2009 draft, with Ray Allen proving the benchmark when it came to three-point shooting.

No one has hit more shots from downtown than the two-time NBA champion and 10-time All-Star's 2,973.

Prior to 2012-13, he also held the record for the most three-pointers made per game in a season when he averaged 3.4 in 2005-06. Curry has beaten that mark six times in his eight campaigns since.

The Warriors guard set a new record of 5.1 three-pointers made per game in 2015-16 and, after dipping to the still-impressive averages of 4.1 and 4.2 in the two subsequent seasons, he matched it in 2018-19.

On course for history

Curry has played 699 games in the NBA and has made 2,495 three-pointers. It is close to 700 more than the next best record for successful three-pointers in a player's first 700 games, which is team-mate Klay Thompson's total of 1,798 in 615 appearances.

The most previously was 1,632 by Allen.

A league-wide trend

It's not just Curry, though.

The average number of three-pointers made per game has been a new league record in each of the past eight seasons.

Furthermore, the rate of 24.3 combined three-pointers made per game in the NBA this season is more than twice that from 2005-06 (11.5).

Consistently accurate

In Allen's 2005-06 season he made a record 269 three-pointers – that is now the 11th best total in the all-time list.

Five of the top-10 tallies belong to Curry, including the top two. He set a new benchmark when he made 402 shots from downtown in his MVP season.

James Harden (378 in 2018-19 and 271 in 2019-20), Paul George (292 in 2018-19), Buddy Hield (278 in 2018-19) and Klay Thompson (276 in 2015-16) are the other top-10 entries.

There have been 38 player seasons in NBA history with at least 600 three-point attempts.

Six of those were by Curry and in those 38 the Warriors star's percentages rank first, second, third, fourth, eighth and 11th.

Often prolific

When Curry entered the league the record for the most games with at least eight three-pointers made was held by Allen, who at that point had nine.

Since then Curry has racked up 48 such games, more than twice as many as Houston Rockets guard Harden, who is second on the all-time list with 21.

Only four players had managed to score 11 three-pointers in a game before Curry's emergence, and each of them had only done it once. In his NBA career he has managed to achieve the feat eight times.

Not just the guards

The big men are also getting involved.

Players who are 6ft 8in or taller are attempting more of their shots from three-point range.

From 1979-80 to 1984-85 just 0.2 per cent of their field-goal attempts were from beyond the arc, and that increased to 3.0 in the seasons from 1995-96 until 1999-2000.

The figure since 2015-16 stands at 8.5 per cent.

A new NBA

The upward trend across the league can also be seen when looking at the top scorers in a season.

Before 2013-14, no more than four of the leading 10 players in points-per-game in a given season had attempted more than two three-pointers per game.

Since then, at least five have done so in six of the seven seasons. As things stand in 2019-20, the number is up to an unprecedented seven.

Indeed, there are 18 players in the top 25 for points-per-game this season who have attempted more than two three-pointers.

'The Last Dance' may have emphasised Dennis Rodman's eccentric ways when it showed him partying with Carmen Electra in Las Vegas, yet one of his Chicago Bulls team-mates insists he was actually "very quiet".

The documentary profiling the Bulls' 1997-98 campaign last week detailed the restless Rodman's mid-season trip to Las Vegas, which was sanctioned by head coach Phil Jackson.

Rodman stayed in Sin City with his model girlfriend Carmen Electra longer than the agreed time and it took a visit to their hotel room from Michael Jordan for the trip to end.

Subsequent recollections indicated that Rodman did not miss a beat when he returned to practice, and Rusty LaRue, a role player on that 1997-98 Bulls team, revealed the power forward was completely different once it came time to work.

"He's probably the exact opposite of his persona in the public," LaRue told Stats Perform.

"He's not a flamboyant guy. He was very quiet, a really hard worker, never took plays off in practice.

"When he was there, he practised his tail off and then would actually stay and lift weights after.

"He really didn't say a whole lot, kept to himself, kind of did his thing but was really a hard worker and had a very high basketball IQ.

"He was certainly an asset to that team in a lot of different ways."

LaRue, who was an NBA rookie on that 'Last Dance' team, was promoted to the roster during the season when fellow point guard Steve Kerr got an injury.

While Rodman, Jordan and Scottie Pippen were seen as the key figures in a team that secured a second three-peat, Kerr's basketball acumen has been evident since he went into coaching.

The Golden State Warriors coach has led Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green to three NBA championships in four years recently, which has impressed his old colleague LaRue.

"Steve always was a really cerebral player, obviously, and was a tough competitor," LaRue added.

"You can see how that translates into being a really excellent coach.

"Probably the biggest thing I see on those Warriors teams is he came into a situation where he had a lot of elite players.

"He was able to manage those players and get them to all play together and sacrifice themselves a little bit for the team."

May 4, 2015 was when Stephen Curry's status as a true NBA superstar was confirmed.

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez was already established as a boxing royalty when, exactly four years later, he added another belt to his collection.

Here we take a look at major sporting events that have occurred on May 4 in previous years.

 

2015: Curry wins first MVP award

The Golden State Warriors' decision to hire Steve Kerr as their head coach prior to the 2014-15 season paid dividends as it transformed point guard Curry into one of the NBA's best.

Curry had only been selected for one All-Star Game before his 2014-15 MVP campaign, when he broke his own record for single-season three-pointers by nailing 286 shots from beyond the arc. 

The first of three NBA championships in four years soon followed as Curry spearheaded a new NBA dynasty.

He would win the MVP award again in 2016 - the season when the Warriors did not lift the Larry O'Brien Trophy - and that time he became the first in NBA history to win the unanimous vote.

2016: Fernando own goal sets up all-Madrid final

It was not pretty but on May 4, 2016, 10-time European Cup winners Real Madrid made another final.

Only one goal separated Los Blancos from Manchester City across 180 minutes, and it came via a degree of fortune - Fernando deflecting Gareth Bale's cross into his own net.

That was enough to see them advance to another final against cross-city rivals Atletico Madrid, with Zinedine Zidane's men going on to win their first of three successive finals in the competition via a penalty shoot-out at San Siro.

 

2019: Canelo seals points win over Jacobs

On Cinco de Mayo weekend, Mexican Alvarez out-pointed Daniel Jacobs to add the IBF middleweight belt to his WBC and WBA titles.

All three judges scored the fight in the Alvarez's favour on his return to the 160lb division, the 28-year-old having briefly stepped up to obliterate Rocky Fielding and take the Liverpudlian's WBA super-middleweight belt.

Alvarez moved to light heavyweight six months later, knocking out Sergey Kovalev in the 11th round to become a four-weight world champion.

While the NBA is hoping it will be able to resume the 2019-20 season that was put on pause because of the coronavirus pandemic, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr is in no rush to return and is already looking ahead to the 2020-21 season.

The NBA season was suspended last month due to COVID-19, which has killed more than 217,800 people worldwide.

"It feels like the offseason," Kerr said during a Zoom conference call on Tuesday.

"And in fact we had a Zoom call, [Warriors general manager] Bob Myers and I got on a Zoom with our players, our whole roster last week. And it was just a chance to check in, but it was also a chance for Bob to update the players on his contact with the league and the latest news, but it also kind of felt like our annual team exit meeting.

"Our coaching staff and I have been undergoing staff evaluations, offseason plans, so we are absolutely in offseason mode right now."

Speaking along with Warriors president and chief operating officer Rick Welts and University of San Francisco women's basketball coach Jennifer Azzi as part of a virtual town hall, Kerr said that with Golden State sitting at 15-50 and at the bottom of the Western Conference it is tough for his team to be motivated to want to come back and play when they are out of the playoff picture.

"The suspension came at an interesting time and it really made a difference, depending on where your team stood in the standings," he said.

"So I've talked to some of my fellow coaches who are coaching teams that are right in the thick of the playoff hunt. They're trying desperately to stay in touch with their team, some of them are even doing group workouts on Zoom with their training staff, and they're trying to find hoops for their players to shoot at where they're able to do so.

"It's different for us because we were down to 17 games, but we were out of the playoffs. It feels like the end of the season for our team. It just does."

The NBA has considered resuming the regular season with teams playing games in isolation without fans, which would ultimately lead to a unique situation for a Warriors team with nothing to play for if their players are forced to play essentially scrimmages in empty gyms. 

"We don't know anything officially," Kerr said. "There's still a chance the league could ask us to come back and play some games, but given what we went through this season with all the injuries and the tough record, it's been more of the case of we're staying in touch with guys but everybody is just sort of assuming that this is kind of it. We're not going to be involved much anymore."

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry jokingly said he could drop 60 points on "everybody" in the NBA.

During an Instagram Live chat with former team-mate JaVale McGee on Friday, Curry made the prediction.

McGee, now with the Los Angeles Lakers, asked the two-time NBA MVP: "What team or player on that team that you know is guarding you do you look at and be like, 'Oh yeah, I'm getting 60 tonight'?"

Curry took a moment before responding: "Everybody."

It sent McGee running wildly before the center said: "What is going on? Steph Curry just took shots at every player in the NBA."

Curry has never managed a 60-point haul, with his career-high a 54 against the New York Knicks in February 2013.

The current NBA season was suspended last month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Now is typically the time when the grind of the NBA's regular season is winding down and 16 teams start to gear up for the playoffs.

However, the coronavirus pandemic brought the league to a halt in March, delaying the best period of the campaign considerably.

With every team having at least 15 games left to play, the postseason picture is far from being completed.

The Los Angeles Lakers are the only team in the Western Conference to have secured their place in the playoffs, where the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics are also guaranteed to feature due to their performances in the East.

With only the Golden State Warriors out of contention, 25 teams still have a mathematical chance of keeping their seasons alive.

 

As the NBA waits for the threat of COVID-19 to subside, and for normal life to return, the Stats Perform AI team have been crunching the numbers behind the scenes.

The goal was to simulate how the regular season would pan out if all outstanding games were played now, producing the final standings in both conferences.

The Stats Perform model takes proprietary data and creates an offensive and defensive rating for each team.

Those ratings are paired with the team's opponent and adjusts it for each team's pace. In addition, the home team gets a slight boost for home-field advantage.

The model uses this information to calculate a projected score for both teams. The victors get another win to their season total – this was done for every remaining game in the regular season. So, without further ado, let's find out the results...

 

NO BUCKING THE TREND

Unsurprisingly the Bucks hang on to the one seed in the Eastern Conference, with our model predicting they will go 13-4 in their remaining fixtures to finish with a 66-16 record.

Despite Milwaukee matching their best regular-season performance in history to book a first-round clash in the playoffs with the Orlando Magic, there was one hiccup for reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and his team-mates – a shock 111-110 loss at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In the only change to the top eight from the current standings, the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Indiana Pacers to the five seed, meaning they draw the Miami Heat in the first round of the postseason for the second time in three years. The Pacers must take on the Celtics as a consequence.

The Brooklyn Nets (39-43) and Magic (38-44) advance despite having losing records – it is the first time since 1988 that more than one team under .500 made the playoffs. The Raptors await the Nets in the first round.

At the foot of the East is the Detroit Pistons, who closed out the season on a 4-12 run to finish with a 24-58 record.

In our simulation the Raptors claimed a 152-96 win over the Atlanta Hawks. Only 12 matches in NBA history have seen a bigger margin of victory.

CLIPPERS FADE, WARRIORS THE WORST

The Lakers hold off the competition to top the Western Conference and at 64-18 claim their best record since the Kobe Bryant era. Their reward is a first-round meeting with the Memphis Grizzlies.

For the Los Angeles Clippers it is a different story. They fall victim to strong finishes from the Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets and slip to fourth, pitting Paul George - and Chris Paul - against his former team the Oklahoma City Thunder in round one.

The Nuggets take second and get the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs after losing just one of their final 17 games, while the Rockets go 15-3 to get the three seed. Awaiting Mike D'Antoni's team in the postseason is the Utah Jazz, who slipped to sixth after going 8-10 down the stretch.

The Grizzlies ensure New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson's first playoff appearance will have to wait until 2021 at the earliest, while the Portland Trail Blazers miss the postseason for the first time since 2013.

A 22-60 record means the Warriors finish the regular season with the worst record in the NBA.

 

GLIMMER OF HOPE FOR SUNS, WIZARDS

While the final standings were taken from the first simulation, the outcome of the regular season was simulated on 10,000 different occasions in order to generate the most accurate possible percentage chance of each team finishing in the playoffs.

The resulting data suggests the Grizzlies defied the odds by reaching the postseason, having only done so in 41.1 per cent of the simulations.

The Magic and Nets both had a success rate above 99 per cent, while the Washington Wizards (0.05 per cent) and the Phoenix Suns (0.04 per cent) are the biggest outsiders.

In addition to the Warriors, the model did not project the New York Knicks, Charlotte Hornets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Chicago Bulls, Hawks or Cavaliers making the postseason once.

A NEW DYNASTY?

The Stats Perform AI team also used the predicted final standings to simulate the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery to find out which team received the first overall pick.

There was finally some good news for Warriors fans, with Golden State drawn first.

With Stephen Curry back from injury and Klay Thompson set to return next season, the No.1 pick would put Steve Kerr's team in a good position to challenge in the playoffs again.

The Hawks jump up to third in our simulation, while the Bulls have to settle for the seventh pick for the fourth consecutive year.

After taking Williamson first overall in 2019, the Pelicans get the final lottery selection here.

Full lottery results:

1. Golden State Warriors
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
3. Atlanta Hawks
4. Detroit Pistons
5. Minnesota Timberwolves
6. New York Knicks
7. Chicago Bulls
8. Charlotte Hornets
9. Phoenix Suns
10. San Antonio Spurs
11. Sacramento Kings
12. Washington Wizards
13. Portland Trail Blazers
14. New Orleans Pelicans

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